Published: Jul 05, 2010 11:19 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 05, 2010 8:19 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Even as he missed weigh-in, eating champion

Takeru Kobayashi was telling media in his native Japan that he

wanted to compete in the Coney Island Fourth of July hot dog

contest. Contestants speculated that the six-time champ would make

a surprise appearance.

And his publicist said Kobayashi planned to attend the annual

Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in the hopes

of putting on a free eating demonstration for the crowd on the

Brooklyn boardwalk.

Instead, Kobayashi surprised everyone Sunday by trying to crash

the contest after Joey "Jaws" Chestnut gobbled his way to a

fourth consecutive championship. He jumped onstage, wrestled with

police and was arrested.

"Let him eat! Let him eat!" the crowd chanted as officers

handcuffed the world's No. 3 professional eater, dubbed "The


Kobayashi, 32, did not compete in the Fourth of July event

because he refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating, the

fast food equivalent of the NFL. On his Japanese-language blog, he

said he wanted to be free to enter contests sanctioned by other


But a few days ago, he told Japan's Kyodo News: "I really want

to compete in the (Coney Island) event."

Wearing a black T-shirt that said "Free Kobi," Kobayashi

mingled with the crowd Sunday, standing inside a police-barricaded

pen just under the stage. When the eating ended, he slipped up the

stage stairs.

Security officers appeared and tried to usher him off. He

grabbed a metal police barricade with both hands, clutching it

tightly as the officers pulled at him. Finally, they dragged him

down the stairs, with Kobayashi resisting.

He was expected to spend the night in jail awaiting an

appearance in Brooklyn Criminal Court on charges of resisting

arrest, trespassing and obstructing governmental administration.

"There's a contract dispute, so they weren't giving him his

freedom," said Kobayashi's interpreter and publicist, Maggie


She said Kobayashi, who moved to New York from Japan in March,

only eats hot dogs when training. Otherwise, she said, "he eats

healthy, stays away from carbs and fat - and from the grease of hot


Chestnut downed 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win the contest

televised live on ESPN.

He was disappointed with his performance, despite claiming the

bejeweled, mustard-yellow belt plus a $20,000 purse. The

26-year-old from San Jose, Calif., was aiming for a record 70 dogs

in 10 minutes. Last year, he ate 68 dogs against Kobayashi's 64.

"I was dehydrated going in," he told The Associated Press,

explaining that he did not drink enough liquids the day before

because he was striving for an emptier stomach.

After witnessing the drama involving Kobayashi, Chestnut said,

"I feel bad for him."

As a handcuffed Kobayashi was led from Brooklyn's 60th Precinct

to a waiting cruiser that took him to jail, one Coney Island

resident shouted: "You've got to be kidding! They locked him up?"

Others yelled, "Free Kobi!"